Tuesday, 11 April 2017


(This article, in its original form, was first published on the Eidolon Paranormal website in 2011. This is an updated article with new information, new sources and extra clarification.)


What is an orb? 

The term orb describes unexpected, typically circular artifacts, that occur in flash photography — sometimes with trails indicating motion — especially common with modern compact and ultra-compact digital cameras.
Orbs are also sometimes called backscatter, orb backscatter, or near-camera reflection.

In the Paranormal/ Spiritual Community, orbs are often associated with spiritual energy or ghosts (yet this remains unproven)

There is much debate and controversy as to whether "orbs" in photos are spiritual (ghosts) or dust, moisture, insects or other airborne particles. 99.9% of orb photos seen in the spiritual/ paranormal community are nothing more than airborne particles.
Camera focal points, flash distance from lens point and environmental conditions create photographic anomalies that create the “orb” in the photo. This is the truth and has been studied by numerous paranormal groups, camera manufacturers, skeptical societies and individuals, and proven to be FACT.

But why do psychics and so many people claim that they are spirits?
 Quite simply, some (fake) psychics want you to believe they are psychic, and many will tell you what you want to hear. Other’s may genuinely have intuition, and may be picking up on a spirit in the photo, or energy from you, which has nothing to do with the orb (or the photo) at all.
Other “orb attributions” are purely psychological where people create a "subjective social reality” (cognitive bias). This can be to “fit in”, to give closure, to feel as if a loved one is around them in some way. 

 Many believers in Orbs point to evidence of older film cameras, that have no flash, recording orb photos. Some also point to night-vision video cameras capturing orbs, but what they don’t realise is that the camera itself, or a nearby IR light source is bathing the area with a light unseen by our own eyes, and when a particle, be it dust or and inset, or something else, passes through this light, depending on its angle, distance from the lens and other factors, an orb will be created. This effect is most clearly seen on CCTV camera’s when a person opens a door and the draft of wind that follows carries dust particle through the room creating multiple “orbs”.

So, you’re saying all orbs are dust, and that should be the end of it?

No, despite my years of research and testing into the subject, talking to entomologists about bug structure and how they might reflect orbs, I still believe there are 0.1% chance of some photos being a genuine anomaly that is yet explained – attributing to a ghost or spirit though, that I am undecided upon (after all why couldn’t it be a fairy, a wisp or some other magical being – why a ghost? And why would something of human size (in energy) manifest as something so small in spiritual energy?) 

 I once took a photo of a fully formed apparition in a cemetery, I could see the apparition quite clearly (and another paranormal investigator had seen the same spirit in the same place many years before me – hence why I was there – He also took a photo of it, and received only a light anomaly) but for reason unknown, in the photo I took, the apparition appears as an orb.
Also, myself, and other team members have witnessed “orbs” with our own eyes in cemeteries and houses, but they were very different to the ones we see so often in photographs.  They appeared to emit their own light from a central point and pulse at the same time (almost like a heartbeat), moving through the air much like a jelly-fish moves through water – they did not appear on camera, and we ruled out every possibility we could, and could not recreate the objects no matter how much we tried.
 Even though I have seen these strange light anomalies with my own eyes,  I do still believe that the majority of "orb" photos out there are contaminants from the local environment where the picture has been taken, with insects and dust being the most common causes.

 I suggest looking at your environment, taking notes of wind strength, dust, insects and anything that can cause loud vibrations (such as a band in a hall), moisture, rain etc. and if you cannot control these conditions when getting your orb photo, then you can probably discard it as a contaminant and not a spirit (or other mythical entity).
  I also suggest testing your camera in controlled conditions, say, inside your own house, put the camera on a tripod and throw some powder, or dust into the air while taking a flash photo just to see how the "orbs" will look in your photo. This will also give you some idea of how the flash to lens ratio works - We at Eidolon Paranormal have done our own experiments with dust, and other objects to see for ourselves that most photos out there are dust or other contaminates -

The Picture below has been produced by a team in the USA named. "Midnite Walkers". Midnight Walkers went to extensive lengths to take photographs of various insects in their local region and explain how insects and incorrect camera use, or settings, can cause various shapes or patterns that some teams, or investigators will claim to be spirits, or Angels (with no solid evidence to back their claims).

We would like to thank MidNite Walkers for granting Eidolon Paranormal the use of their pictures on our website.

 Composite picture showing the typical irregular shape and high brilliancy of insect orbs. Image sizes have been scaled to a similar size for easier comparison of shape and brightness.

 This photo was taken in St Johns cemetery by the Eidolon Paranormal team in 2009
The ground had ash on it from a recent fire and it was beginning to rain lightly. After walking through the ash pile, kicking up dust we took the photo. Notice the red dust/red orb, the ash dust appears white/grey and blue - the rain drop appears bluish-grey and has the most density

Midnite Walkers have also granted us permission to use their conglomeration ORB photos as a reference tool for our readers, and future paranormal investigators
Coloured Dust Orbs: Composite image of coloured dust orbs (image size have been scaled to similar sizes for easier comparison)

Grey Dust Orbs:  Composite image of grey dust orbs (image size have been scaled to similar sizes for easier comparison)

Eidolon Paranormal also conducted some experiments within controlled conditions (as mentioned earlier on this page) here a few of our "controlled orb experiment" photos
Aerosol Spray

Chocolate Drinking Powder


A few of you may be wondering why we chose these, and other house hold items. It was purely because they were controllable with differing mass, liquidity, and weight, and all would react in differing ways within the field off the camera flash

An orb created by a moth
Two orbs explainable as moisture and dust - both present at the same time at St Johns Cemetery, Kapunda.

An unusually shaped orb taken with an Ir Camera,  that appears to be moving in the direction of the"arrow". Recent inspection has led us to believe this is an insect

 Eidolon Paranormal would like to express our deepest appreciation to
"Midnite Walkers Paranormal Research Society" who are based in Minnesota, United States of America, for allowing us the use of their photos and text.
If you would like to see the above experiments, in full, or other experiments performed by Midnite Walkers, please follow the link below to their website
http://www.midnite-walkers.com (first accessed in 2011)


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HowStuffWorks. 2017. How Night-vision Cameras Work | HowStuffWorks. [ONLINE] Available at: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/night-vision-cameras.htm. [Accessed 07 March 2017].
How Do Night Vision Cameras Work?. 2017. How Do Night Vision Cameras Work?. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.howtogeek.com/291282/how-do-night-vision-cameras-and-goggles-work/. [Accessed 07 March 2017].
Orbs. 2017. Orbs. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.paranormal-encyclopedia.com/o/orbs/. [Accessed 07 March 2017].
ASSAP what are orbs?. 2017. ASSAP what are orbs?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.assap.ac.uk/newsite/articles/what%20are%20orbs.html. [Accessed 07 March 2017].